By Daniel Hunter

Competition for job halved over 2014 to hit a new record low of 0.85 jobseekers for every advertised vacancy in December, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

The number of jobseekers going after each advertised role has nearly halved by comparison to December 2013, when there were 1.61 jobseekers per position.

Total advertised vacancies have risen by a third over the last year. There were 968,273 jobs advertised in December, 30.0% higher than 744,665 available positions in December 2013, as the number of available jobs continues to close in on the one million mark. On a monthly basis, there were 1.9% more vacancies compared to 949,788 in November, breaking through the previous post-recession high.

Wage growth maintains a strong lead on inflation, helped by inflation of just 0.5% in the year to December 2014. The average advertised UK salary in December 2014 was 6.9% higher than 12 months prior, meaning the average salary packet has grown by £2,109 in real terms over this period.

But there are still warning signs on the horizon. At £34,548, the average advertised salary in December was actually £1 lower than November’s £34,549. This is the third consecutive monthly fall, possibly signalling salary stagnation.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “The streets might be paved with jobs, but that doesn’t mean they’re paved with gold. On a month-on-month basis, salaries have been static for three months running. This is partly down to an increase in lower paid roles, but also due to growing concerns over an increasingly fragile Eurozone. The recent plateauing may signal a larger and more worrying trend towards stagnant wage growth.

“As long as the warm breeze of slow inflation keeps real wage growth aloft, we will keep feeling richer. But the wage recovery can’t glide forever — and we’re already losing height. In order to sustain the uplift the engines of the North must keep running at full throttle, operating on the jet-fuel of the UK’s booming manufacturing and construction industries. We cannot allow economic uncertainty to get in the way of our booming export sector.”

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